The Buck Stops Here

A corrupt chief of police in my hometown was exposed last week for public drunkenness and sexual misconduct. He also covered up for corrupt members of his force during his 10-year term. Instead of going to jail, this unrepentant chief was allowed to retire early with a pension – at taxpayer expense. This injustice is taking place in a “Christian” town. Most of “Christian” America is no better. History is littered with the Trail of Tears, Tammany Hall, Roe v. Wade, a flourishing porn industry, sex trafficking of minors, legal gay marriages, and ObamaCare. Even “Christian” Germany allowed Hitler (1889-1945) to kill 12 million people, half of them Jews.

We expect such injustice in non-Christian nations instead, where it abounds. During the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, over 500,000 innocent people were slaughtered. Hindu India has illegally killed 100,000 female babies each year and forced countless others into the sex trade. Communist China has killed millions of babies through its “one child” policy. Communist North Korea has detained or killed thousands of Christians. The world rightly condemns these rulers, but not the Communist Nelson Mandela (1918-2013). He governed South Africa (1994-99) by giving free reign to abortion, homosexuality, and genocide. The result was mass murder and an AIDS epidemic. Yet thanks to Marxist propaganda, the world has hailed Mandela as a savior.

to-kill-a-mockingbird harper-leeThis world reeks with corruption and injustice. Wrongs are not made right. Stolen property is not returned. Sexual innocence is lost forever. And the dead are not raised to life. Too many innocent people have been convicted and executed for crimes they did not commit, while the guilty went free. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) says it best. Tom Robinson is wrongly tried and convicted for a rape that never occurred, and then killed by a vigilante while escaping prison. No one arrests his murderer.

Does the church care? No! She gives unrepentant sinners cheap grace, mercy, and forgiveness instead. She also tells those who have been wronged to forgive, when those who’ve sinned against them haven’t repented or made it right. The church doesn’t convert sinners or teach morality anymore either. Her sermons and songs don’t influence the way people live. They attend church on Sunday and then lie, cheat, steal, murder, and sleep with their boss’s wife on Monday. The church has become socially and politically meaningless as a result.

The church is supposed to be salt in this flavorless world. But when a “Christian” society such as America chooses to live like animals, then this salt has lost its flavor. The church is “good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13). I wonder if God allowed Hitler to overrun “Christian” Germany because the church had lost its flavor.

The world does not know God’s justice. She’ll get a rude awakening through the Great Tribulation and Great White Throne Judgment (2 Peter 2:4-9, 3:5-7; Revelation 5-20). People can deceive others about their sins until the day they die, but they can’t deceive God. The entrance to heaven says, “The buck stops here.” The cross of Jesus Christ says the same thing. Those who don’t repent will not be forgiven and God will justly send them to hell.

jesus-carries-the-cross christThe church today is just like the world. She has forgotten and distorted the message of the cross: there is no forgiveness without repentance and no grace or mercy without judgment.*** Jesus paid the penalty for our sins because someone had to pay and we couldn’t. Justice had to be served. So God poured out righteous judgment on his Son. Grace and mercy aren’t opposed to judgment. They’re the fruit of it. Forgiveness isn’t opposed to repentance either. It’s the fruit of it. This cause-and-effect relationship is justice. A just God won’t forgive us of sin unless we repent and trust in Jesus’ death as payment for them.

This repentance-forgiveness contract with God is a spiritual “get out of jail” card, his eternal jail called “hell.” That doesn’t mean God will release us from the jails of this world. He won’t. We must make the same repentance-forgiveness contract with those we have sinned against, even if we must turn ourselves into the police. Otherwise, justice has not been served. Although God forgave King David of adultery and murder, he took his son and prophesied that the sword would never leave David’s house (2 Samuel 12:10-14). After meeting Jesus, Zaccheus said he would repay four-fold those he had cheated (Luke 19:8-9). A boy can break a window with a baseball, repent to God, and receive forgiveness. But he must still pay the owner for the window.

Contrary to what the world preaches and what the church has begun to believe, capital punishment is justice. Sometimes the death of a criminal is the only payment for the crime – especially murder, treason, sexual abuse of minors, and rape. What do Christians think the cross is? Capital punishment! Sin can be only paid through the death of the sinner. If Jesus hadn’t died, we would have had to pay God for our sins through our own deaths – just as some crimes against the state can only be paid through criminals’ deaths. But our deaths still wouldn’t have been enough. We think capital punishment is too hard. It’s too easy.

When the church stops giving unrepentant sinners cheap grace, mercy, and forgiveness and starts preaching the gospel of repentance unto salvation, then America will be transformed. Until then, who will bring justice to this wicked world? Who will stop the injustice in my hometown? When will someone say, “The buck stops here”? Maranatha – come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20)!

__________

*** See Genesis 3:9-24, 4:8-15, 6:1-8; Numbers 25:6-13, 2 Samuel 12:13, 1 Kings 8:47-50, 2 Chronicles 33:11-17, Esther 7:9-10, Psalm 51, Daniel 4, Luke 17:3-4, 24:47; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 5:31, 8:22, 17:30, 26:20; 2 Peter 3:9, Revelation 2:5, 16, 20-23, 3:3, 19.

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